The Domaine Chavy-Chouet Estate
Romaric Chavy took over the estate in 2014, making him the eighth generation to make wine in his family. Romaric learned from his father, Hubert Chavy, who founded the winery. Chavy-Chouet is one of the oldest families in Puligny-Montrachet. The Ropiteau family (on his mother's side) is the oldest one in Meursault.
Hubert Chavy (known not only for his winemaking but also for his charisma) was able to train Romaric in for a few years before his passing in early 2014. Romaric has become a very smart vigneron with a great philosophy. Making wine has come naturally to him, as if often does in Burgundy when you are next in line.
After six years at a specialist winemaking school and with plenty of experience in winegrowing and vinification around the world under his belt, Romaric has given the estate a makeover, watching over his 15 hectares of vines with a rigorous eye. He is proud of his roots, and his approach combines rigor, tradition, and innovation.
A group from Kysela visits Chavy-Chouet in January each year, carrying on a tradition of tasting from barrels, then bottles, and then finishing with some mystery wines. The group has to guess the appellation and the vintage of wines being poured from magnums...a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
This is a 15 hectare-domaine (37 acres) that produces wine from 14 A.O.C.'s (80% White, 20% Red). The vineyard is divided into 70 parcels planted to vines that are 40 years old or more. He uses Gillet as his cooper, who blends oak from Nevers, Limousin and Allier forests. The barrels receive medium toast. Romaric, just as his father, Hubert, does not fine or filter his wines, as he prefers their purity to shine through.
The winery covers 1,300 square meters, including 800 square meters of cellars, and is a mix of ancient and ultra-modern. The set-up allows him to work hand-in-hand with nature in a well-managed yet pleasant environment, and to meet his very high demands in terms of quality. The wines are put into barrels using gravity, intervention is kept to a minimum, and an irreproachable attitude to cleanliness also symbolize his quest for excellence in the shape of pure and balanced wines that burst with energy.
A corked bottle of 1983 Pichon-Lalande led to my inaugural visit to this Meursault domaine. My precious Pauillac corked, I ordered a bottle of 2015 Bourgogne Les Femelottes from Chavy-Chouet at Brat restaurant in London. It was so damn delicious that I ordered another and emailed winemaker Romaric Chavy that I must visit pronto.
Arriving at the gates, I noticed that there was no doorbell or knocker. When I was noticed loitering outside, the gates finally opened and Romaric Chavy informed me that they do without a doorbell because they have so many visitors. Chavy is a young and confident guy, very media-savvy, which is uncommon in Burgundy. He worked abroad in various countries including South Africa and Greece before taking over Chavy-Chouet at the age of just 22. Before tasting through the 2017s, which had all been bottled, I asked about the background of the domaine.
“The holdings come from two sides of my grandfather’s family. Chavy comes from Puligny-Montrachet, and his wife was part of the Ropiteau family in Meursault. Back then, he sold the wines to Bouchard Père. It was my own father, Hubert, who started bottling his own wine when he married his wife from Pommard and bought this house in Meursault. I started at the domaine in 2006 when we were still selling off grapes. I already had a good network [of potential clients] and so we started to bottle everything and develop exports. My father passed away in 2014. Now we have 15 hectares, mostly old vines located in five villages, producing around 90,000 bottles, of which around 90% is exported. We have three or four people working full-time and we work in a classical way - lutte raisonée and ploughing in the vineyard. This year we approached half the vineyard organically, but when the pressure became too high, we switched back and used spray. We press the fruit for two hours, with a 24-hour debourbage, and then ferment in barrel using natural yeast, a maximum of 20% new oak for between 9 and 12 months, with no lees stirring and a light filtration before bottling. We try to keep as much natural CO2 as possible.”
It is always a pleasure to discover a producer who has skimmed under your Burgundy radar for some time. Chavy-Chouet has built a loyal following here in the UK and I can understand why. These wines are very pure, terroir-driven and focused. Yet they are not challenging or pretentious and give much sensory pleasure. As I mentioned, you can splash the cash on a Premier Cru white if you wish, but do not ignore the 2017 Bourgogne Blanc Les Femelottes. It is unequivocally Village Cru in quality – no real surprise given that its vines are adjacent to Puligny-Village. The 2017 Meursault Charmes is an absolute knockout, whilst the monopole Clos des Corvées de Citeau is superb. This is an address I will definitely return to in the future, though I have made a mental note to phone ahead, so that I can actually get in. - Neal Martin"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (2017 Burgundy: A Modern Classic, January 2019)
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Poggio San Polo Podernovi Brunello di Montalcino is made from 100 percent Sangiovese.
Podernovi, San Polo’s new single vineyard Brunello, makes its debut with the extraordinary 2015 vintage. Crafted with Sangiovese grapes grown in the vineyard synonymous with the wine, it is among the most beautiful and archetypal of Montalcino. Podernovi is an elegant and poignant Brunello.
The winter was not particularly cold, and spring arrived slightly earlier than usual, with temperatures slightly above average, giving the vines’ shoots the opportunity to uniformly develop. The following weeks saw frequent rainfall, which allowed the land to build water reserves, alternating with periods of dry weather, enabling the vines to continue growing without any problems. The damp conditions during flowering led to the formation of bunches that were slightly more sparse than usual and with rather small berries, ideal preconditions for reaching harvest time with perfectly ripe and healthy grapes. However, the feature that will make vintage 2016 particularly memorable is the excellent temperature range that characterized the months of July, August and September, with sunny days and cool, breezy nights. We therefore reached the beginning of October with grapes that exhibited a superb combination of maturity, acidity and aromatic potential, perfect conditions for the production of wines with a distinct personality and a great balance of concentration, elegance and longevity; a perfect reflection of the production philosophy of San Polo.
A mix of wild herb, Tuscan scrub, rose, cherry and earth flavors mark this sleek red, which tiptoes between elegance and power, with a layer of chalky tannins underlying it all. With air, the ripe cherry and plum fruit comes forward. Best from 2025 through 2047. 100 cases imported.
-Wine Spectator 95 Points
Aromas of forest floor, grilled herb, camphor and pipe tobacco mingle on the nose of this full-bodied red. The firm, elegantly structured palate offers juicy Marasca cherry, red currant, licorice and coffee bean. Tightly wound, fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity grip the close and lend an ageworthy structure. Drink 2026–2041.
-Wine Enthusiast 95 Points Cellar Selection
Delicately perfumed and finessed, the San Polo 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Podernovi is very floral and lifted in personality. This vintage is very different than the inaugural 2015 vintage. I remember the previous release for its darker and blacker quality of fruit. This cooler vintage is more lithe and lighthearted, with building aromatic intensity that unfolds with caution and care. Once you've had the wine in your glass, it reveals a succession of sour cherry, wild rose and fresh lavender bud. There are light mineral dustings as well, and the wine is ultimately quite solid and structured. This bodes well for its aging evolution. Fruit comes from a two-hectare parcel in a cool and high position some 450 meters above sea level. The soils are clayey with schistous Galestro. Production is 13,000 bottles.
-Wine Advocate 95+ Points
A mix of wild herb, Tuscan scrub, rose, cherry and earth flavors mark this sleek red, which tiptoes between elegance and power, with a layer of chalky tannins underlying it all. With air, the ripe cherry and plum fruit comes forward. Best from 2025 through 2047. 100 cases imported. –BS
-James Suckling 95 Points
This is a phenomenal new red from San Polo with superb depth and intensity with plum, wet earth and black truffle. Full body. Chewy and ripe tannins and a long and flavorful finish. The depth and beautiful is gorgeous. Needs three or four years to come together. Better after 2022.
-Flastaff 95 Points
Château Grand-Puy Ducasse will seduce lovers of great red wines from Pauillac with its exceptional quality marked by a very beautiful aromatic richness. A classic vintage, complete, complex, rich and unctuous, this cuvée promises superb aging potential.
Aging 18 months in French oak barrels (35% new for the 2020 vintage).After manual harvesting in crates and an initial sorting in the vineyard, the grapes are sorted again using the latest generation optical sorting system. Vinification is then carried out in stainless steel temperature controlled tanks however for some of the batches, malolactic fermentation is also carried out in new barrels.